One thing I’m definitely looking forward to after Paris is not having to sleep in the same room as a circular buzzsaw.

I wasn’t really planning anything when it came to Lyon, but upon reading up on the UNESCO world heritage stuff in it, I decided to pay a little bit extra for a reservation so I could spend a little more time there. Serves me right for reserving a seat before checking hostels – the only affordable bed is five miles from the city centre, which naturally means taking the tram there. Lesson learnt!

So I stepped out into Lyon city centre…

…grabbed a tram…

…and you wouldn’t guess who hopped on just as the doors closed? Only the scarred man from Gare du Nord! He’d somehow tracked me down across half the country. We stared at each other silently for an awkwardly long portion of the trip.

‘Okay, you know what? Let’s skip the preamble,’ the scarred man scowled, ‘who are you working for?’

I blinked back at him, ‘…pardon?’

‘CIA? GRU? Mossad?’ the scarred man squinted, ‘Venture Scouts? The Salvation Army? C’mon, work with me here…’

‘I honestly have no idea what you are talking about,’ I mumbled, ‘if it’s anything to do with that lady on the Eurostar, I know it’s not my place to judge, but shooting her in the back didn’t seem very nice.’

The scarred man huffed, ‘you expect me to believe an enemy operative would entrust her secrets to a complete stranger?’

‘She didn’t entrust me with anything!’ I stammered, ‘except, you know, saliva. Which is kinda gross when you think about it.’

The scarred man glanced at the other tram passengers eavesdropping on our conversation. He hadn’t worried about offing someone in public before, but I dunno, maybe he wasn’t supposed to have done that.

‘Oh, I see how it is,’ the man grinned maliciously, ‘keep up this “clueless tourist” act if you want, but the moment you slip up, I’ll be there. To catch you. Slipping up. Because then you’ll be…and then I’ll be…yeah.’

Then he hopped off at the next stop.

I checked into the hotel in a kind of daze, mulling over the weird thing that just happened. But I’d barely got myself settled into the room when the door rattled with an efficient knock. A slight, handsome looking man in a well-fitted suit stood outside.

‘Valerian Strauss, Interpol,’ the peroxide-blond young man smiled apologetically, ‘we are investigating a murder that took place in Gare du Nord a few days ago. We understand you were a witness, Mr Hopkins?’

My mind buzzed with questions as how they could have known who or where I was, but this was the police, what was I supposed to do, deny it?

‘Oh yes! Terrible business. Hope they catch whoever did it!’ I did my best “concerned bystander” impression.

‘Yes…’ Valerian coughed, ‘sir, did you have any contact with the victim prior to the incident?’

‘Not much,’ I lightly fibbed, ‘she sat next to me until the Chunnel then disappeared.’

‘Did she pass anything to you?’ Valerian pressed, ‘a file perhaps? Or a disk drive?’

The SD card! She must have snuck it into my bag when I wasn’t looking! But wait…how could he have possibly known that? The only other person who might have known was…the scarred man! He and this interpol agent must be in league! I had to tread carefully.

‘No, nothing like that,’ I fibbed a bit more heavily.

‘Oh…’ Valerian sighed, handing me his card, ‘well, if anything jogs your memory, just give me a call.’

I took the card and bid him adieu. I don’t know if he believed me but I might just have dodged a bullet. Literally.

I leapt to my luggage and tipped everything upside-down to find the SD card and jam it into my tablet. Rats! It was encrypted. Too many password attempts would lock me out. The only clue I had was the card’s name in the file directory: “princescradle1442”

Oh well, I tried. To Lyon!




How often in real life do you get to say the word “furnicular?” Not very I’d reckon.



Lyon! Ancient capital of Roman Gaul! Medieval centre of silk and banking, more recent centre of resisting things. Home to the biggest collection of French art and antiquities outside the Louvre, Europe’s largest urban green space, and even a Barbie museum!

For realsies, though, the Museum of Resistance was very moving.